Saturday, July 05, 2014

Matt Lavelle and John Pietaro - Harmolodic Monk (Unseen Rain Records, 2014)

Trumpeter, alto clarinet player and blogger extraordinaire Matt Lavelle has studied informally with the great jazz legend Ornette Coleman for several years. Coleman's complex metaphysical and musical theory of harmolodics rubbed off on much of his playing, and on this project he is joined by percussionist and vibraphonist John Pietaro and uses the harmolodic theory on a set of songs by the great jazz composer Thelonious Monk. The Monk tunes are really well suited to this type of exploration since they are filled with spaces and jagged cliffs of sound that musicians can use to rappel from one slope to another. That is the thing about Thelonious Monk's compositions, thought they have been played many times over the years, when musicians approach the songs with an open mind they are able to see within themselves and use that confidence to explore deeper. Songs like "Let's Cool One", "Monk's Mood" and "In Walked Bud" keep the jaunty nod and wink feel of the originals, darting too and fro, while the moodier performances like on "Round Midnight" are filled with empty spaces, as if they are filled with longing and sadness. Harmolodic Monk -

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